How many of you went to the game last week? It was very disappointing; our guys put their hearts to get to this point, to bring home a state title but again we fell short. I know all of us were disappointed especially for the boys and those seniors. Disappointment can happen many times in our lives, we may not get what we hoped for, or something unsuspecting may happen. For me, I had a disappointment this past year when I was asked to take more time before my priestly ordination. As I prayed I heard God say to me, this will all workout for you, be patient and know I’ve brought good out of disappointment before and I can do it again!
Today we celebrate the feast of the immaculate conception.The Church gives us a reading from the book of Genesis,and we may be familiar with it. The serpent usually depicted as a snake tricks Adam and Eve to eat from the one tree God told them not to. What we hear today is how God responds. Adam and Eve covered themselves up after the fall, and they hid from God and were afraid. Adam blamed Eve for his fall and Eve blamed the serpent.In a sense, they were all guilty of this great sin. First God punishes the serpent tells them that he will craw on the ground and eat dirt. What happens after this passage is God punishes the man and woman and kick them out of the garden.I couldn’t imagine the sadness and the disappointment they were both going through as God kicked them out of that garden.
As we know that sin continues to affect all of us, it is like a disease that is passed on to everyone. However, God didn’t leave us abandoned he did let Adam and Eve’s mistake be the final word. Today’s first reading contains the first prophecy we hear in all of scripture, the initial prediction of the coming Messiah.
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.”Genesis 3:15
God tells the serpent that one day a child from this woman will strike your head.
Part of my daily prayer is the liturgy of the hours and one of the prayers today puts it more boldly.
“The Lord God said to the serpent: I will make you enemies, you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring, she will crush your head, alleluia.”Gospel Canticle Antiphon , Morning Prayer December 8th
You may notice though that the prayer changes who harms the serpent. It isn’t Jesus instead it is the woman or another way to put it Mary will crush the head of the serpent, or Satan. It’s very common for statues and images of the Blessed Virgin Mary to be standing on the head of a snake.
This is the mystery of today’s feast, the greatest disappointment that happened in our history, the fall of Adam and Eve, was immediately followed by the most significant prophecy in our history. One day God will send a son who will defeat the serpent and have victory over sin and death. The conception of Mary in the womb of her parents begins God’s work of fulfilling this prophecy and winning the ultimate victory over sin and death.
How though can this help us in our own lives? I know many of you have a deep devotion to our blessed mother and I urge you to continue that and deepen the devotion you have to her. How though does Mary help us in our day to day lives, in helping us follow our Lord in what he asks us to do?
First, Mary is the answer to the greatest disappointment in history; her son brings joy out of the first sin of man. If you come to the Easter vigil this coming year, you will hear sung. O happy fault that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer! In our own lives, we can look to Mary, we can see to what she helped bring for us and take hope even when disappointment enters into our own lives.
Mary too experienced a great disappointment a great sorrow in her own life. She followed our Lord, her only son, up to Calvary and saw him die on the cross. Mary was a mother who lost her only son and even though she knew what that would bring about she still felt deep sorrow for this. Because of the grief she felt, she in our own lives can be someone we go to when we face sadness, disappointment, loss of a loved one or whatever it may be. No matter how big or small our sorrow, disappointment or pain we can go to Mary. From having a bad day, losing the championship game, to even losing a family member, go to Mary because she knows your hurt and your pain. Whatever it may be Mary can be there for us.
Today’s feast is more than just celebrating the fact that Mary was conceived without sin and that she brought Jesus into the world. She is the ultimate sign that no matter how great the failure no matter how great the disappointment God will bring about fulfillment, and our salvation in the end. We will all face difficult times in our lives and the next time that happens go to Mary because she can bring you peace and hope!